Seeking Intervention Of Army / Central Forces To Protect Christians In Orissa sign now

TO
THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA
SEEKING INTERVENTION OF ARMY / CENTRAL FORCES TO PROTECT CHRISTIANS IN ORISSA
AS NUN IS RAPED, PRIESTS INJURED, CHURCHES AND OFFICES BURNT IN PRESENCE OF POLICE

Hon'ble President of India
Smt. Pratibha Patil

Madam President,
Greetings from a grieving community!
You are well aware of the still continuing carnage against the Christian community, mostly Dalits and Tribals, in the Kandhamal district of Orissa and in several other districts including the state capital of Bhubaneswar since 23rd August 2003 following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates, reportedly by Maoist groups who have been operating in the state for some time.

The Christian leadership in the country has unequivocally condemned the killing of the VHP leader and his four associates. We sympathize with the bereaved members of the families who have lost their loved ones.

No violence can be justified, for whatever the reason. However, for the last several months, the Government of Orissa has allowed some fascist and fundamentalist forces to terrorize the poor, the marginalized and the minorities of the State. These forces have carried on their virulent propaganda and their violent acts with apparent immunity.

The Christians of Kandhamal are still nursing their wounds from the Christmas 2007 violence, with hundreds of them still living in a refugee camp in Barakhama. Most of the more than One hundred churches then destroyed remain in ruins, and the burnt houses are still to be fully rebuilt.

And yet local Sangh leaders have targeted the community in a second wave of macabre violence.

A nun has been raped in Kandhamal, a Catholic father grievously injured, scores of houses in villages destroyed, apart from Churches and institutions. I attach herewith a partial list of the damage in the violence in the past two days. We in Delhi are overwhelmed with panic messages from Priests, pastors, nuns and common people who look to New Delhi for help as the State machinery has collapsed once again.

Changing of superintendents of police as a knee jerk reaction does not provide security to Christians. In fact, much of the violence is taking place with the insufficient police force looking on. This had been the case in 2007 December, as has come out in the on-going hearings of the Justice Basudeo Panigrahi Commission. Christian delegations have informed the State Governor, the State Chief Minister and the Home Minister of India of the dire situation of our community in Orissa.

Hon'ble Madame President,

This is to request you to use your powers as President of India, and the tremendous force of your good office, to impress on the Central Government to rush adequate Union forces, including contingents of the Armed Forces if required, to restore law and order and governance in the state of Orissa particularly in the Kandhamal region.

The consequences of any further delay, I fear, may be catastrophic for our Christian community in the State in particular, for peace in Orissa in general, and for the fair name of India as a secular country.

Yours Sincerely,

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